Foundation Counsel

The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is seeking to hire a part-time Foundation Counsel.


The Foundation Counsel is a member of the Operations Team and is supervised by the Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer. The Foundation Counsel’s role is critical to ensuring that the Community Foundation remains in compliance with relevant laws, regulations and contract agreements. This role is accomplished with close coordination and ongoing communications with outside legal counsel. It is a part-time position with the expectation of 20 hours per week on average.

The Foundation Counsel functions as the in-house legal resource to the Community Foundation’s Board, Organization Design Team (ODT), which serves as the senior leadership team, and other Foundation team members on legal and risk management issues relating to general business practices and foundation matters. This position manages a broad range of contractual, litigation, tax, regulatory, compliance matters and assists with Foundation governance policies and practices. The Foundation Counsel works with various function and cross-functional teams in the development and codification of the Foundation’s policies and operational procedures. This role also assists in the training of team members on the Foundation’s policies and operational procedures and monitoring compliance.

The Foundation Counsel must maintain high standards of ethics, integrity and confidentiality at all times due to Foundation Counsel’s access to highly sensitive information.


  • Develops expertise in, and remains informed on legal, tax, accounting, investment and risk management issues relevant to the Community Foundation and the activities/initiatives the Foundation is currently involved in or is considering undertaking
  • Serves as the primary contact for outside legal counsel and the Council on Foundation’s legal team. Develops and maintains internal systems to track past and current legal work, including a database of legal opinions and written advice that have been received, and builds organizational capacity to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of managing legal work and risk management.
  • Is a member of the Foundation’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Team. The ERM team’s role is to ensure processes and procedures are in place for excellence in enterprise risk management practices by identifying potential areas of risk across the organization and considering strategies to mitigate identifying risks. This includes ensuring compliance with applicable laws, maintenance of adequate insurance coverage and development and implementation of sound business process management practice.
  • Assists in the drafting and negotiation of contracts with vendors, consultants, philanthropic support arrangements and grants awarded to the Community Foundation from external funders, which include local and national foundations and governmental entities (local, state and federal), that provide funds to support the Community Foundation’s community change leadership initiatives.
  • Ensures fiduciary duties of the Community Foundation are properly executed. This includes assisting the President/CEO with governance support and best practices implementation.
  • Serves as an in-house resource on legal issues as they affect current and prospective clients/donors (including fund agreement development, legacy fulfillment, and gifts of complex assets).
  • Facilitates fund modifications, estate settlements and gifts of complex appreciated assets, such as real estate, closely held business interests and other illiquid assets. Manages the process for administration and sale of such assets in conjunction with Community Foundation’s Giving Strategies and Finance teams.


Professional and Educational Experience:

  • Juris Doctor degree required. A professional concentration in the area of trusts and estates would be beneficial
  • Minimum of seven years experience (or equivalent) in a related field
  • Understanding and adherence to high standards of ethics and confidentiality
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to establish and maintain effective relationships with persons across diverse backgrounds
  • Experience in communicating in a persuasive and reflective manner, in person, in digital settings and in writing and presentations; ability to explain complex topics in simple terms
  • Skilled at dealing with internal and external partners respectfully, professionally and with diplomacy and tact
  • Professional writing and verbal communication skills
  • An informed understanding of racial equity and demonstrated cultural competence
  • Advanced mastery of computer skills, including Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint
  • Solid analytical and evaluative skills
  • Ability to learn quickly and respond/react to changing priorities
  • Able to initiate and complete tasks
  • Proficient at managing multiple responsibilities simultaneously in an organized and flexible fashion with a dedication to the timely completion of required tasks
  • Effective at project management
  • Capable of exercising good judgment when it comes to problem-solving, setting priorities, and decision making
  • Able to work both independently as a self-starter and in a team environment with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail


Celebrating its centennial year in 2019, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo was established in 1919 to enhance and encourage long-term philanthropy in the Western New York community. A 501 (c)(3) organization, the Community Foundation’s mission is: Connecting people, ideas and resources to improve lives in Western New York. For 100 years the Community Foundation has made the most of the generosity of individuals, families, foundations and organizations who entrust charitable assets to the Community Foundation’s care. Learn more at


Community foundations are designed to grow and evolve as our community’s needs change, and new positions are regularly created as a result. As the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo continues to grow, we’re looking for talented people who want to use their abilities to make a lasting difference. If that is you, then please send a cover letter explaining your interest in this position and what you would bring to the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo.

Send cover letter and resume as a single Word or PDF document via email to:

Please submit responses electronically via email. Response may also be received by U.S. Postal Service if an electronic medium is not available. No calls please.

Application deadline: Open until filled.  We thank all candidates for their interest; however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity, practices inclusion and works to advance equity.